Very well signposted hiking trails of varying distances and difficulties take you around the town, up to the Frankenhöhe and into the Tauber valley. Hikers can choose from 13 main hiking trails as well as numerous side trails. Explanatory boards provide interesting information along various trails, including the water management educational trail in the Schand -tauber valley, at various mills in the Tauber valley as well as on the rock and wine variety educational trail at the Rothenburg vineyard.
Since the 13th century about 40 mills have been located in the former state territory of the Free Imperial Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Of those, about 13 were located in close proximity to each other in the Tauber valley below the town of Rothenburg on a stretch of river of barely 2 km. Since the establishment of the Rothenburg Mill Trail, new information boards have been set up in front of the Tauber valley mills every year. Currently, tours can be arranged at the Bronnen Mill and the Fuchs Mill. During a guided hiking tour, additional mills may also be toured.
In addition to numerous hiking trails, a 9.6 km long signposted Nordic walking route is also available. The trail is marked by a red dot indicating a medium level of difficulty. Over its entire length the route includes two inclines (duration approx. 2 hours). The circuit takes you from the town, with marvelous views of the Frankenhöhe and the Tauber valley to the Steinbach valley and back. A shorter route is 6.3 km long and marked with a blue dot.
The informative rock and grape variety educational path is located on the southern slopes of the town. Numerous information boards convey interesting facts on 30 characteristic rock samples of the Franconian Scarplands as well as on over 120 different grape varieties.
The roughly 126 km long panoramic hiking tour route takes you in five stages from the medieval town of Rothenburg to attractions such as the Tilman Riemenschneider altars in Detwang and Creglingen, Weikersheim palace, and the Bronnbach Monastery through vineyards with marvelous views of the landscape of the Tauber valley to Freudenberg am Main. Information: www.liebliches-taubertal.de.
The two-day hiking tour from Creglingen to Rothenburg and back (total of about 47 km) combines the scenic charms of the upper Tauber valley with a tour of four art works by Tilman Riemenschneider (ca. 1460–1531): the Holy Blood of Christ altarpiece in St. James' Church in Rothenburg, the Franciscan Altar in the Franciscan Church in Rothenburg, the Holy Cross Altar in the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Detwang and the Holy Mary Altar in the Herrgott Church in Creglingen.
James' pilgrims have been traveling on pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela for over a thousand years. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is situated on this pilgrim's route. The Würzburg – Rothenburg and Nuremberg – Rothenburg routes meet here and join to continue on to Ulm. Since 2004 there has been a newly marked section of trail from Rothenburg to Rottenburg am Neckar and since 2009 an approx. 189 km long trail takes the pilgrims to Speyer. Information: www.jakobus-gesellschaften.de.
Rothenburg is situated on the Romantic Road. You don't need a car to explore the landscape along what is probably Germany’s most famous holiday road. Parallel to the highway, a 500 km far long-distance trail connects the 28 villages between Würzburg and Füssen. Stop-offs such as Würzburg, the Wieskirche and Neuschwanstein Castle are among the highlights of the route. Information: www.romantischestrasse.de.
The hiking trail runs along the European Watershed on the heights of the Frankenhöhe nature reserve on a 98 km long trail from Ansbach to Schnelldorf. From Rothenburg two signposted feeder trails lead to the hiking trail. The trail crosses various points from which the water flows either towards the south to the Black Sea or towards the north to the North Sea. Information: www.wasserscheideweg.de.